How To Be A Responsible Liquor Retailer: Dealing With Drunk Patrons

In the restaurant industry, there is a lot of pressure placed on liquor retailers to enforce responsible liquor consumption. With the devastating effects of liquor-related violence or vehicle accidents, prevent overconsumption of alcohol and step in before patrons drive drunk. Is it the responsibility of the retailer to ensure that their customers are responsible? At Leon Slotow Associates, we help our customers obtain and renew their retail liquor licences and restaurant liquor licences in South Africa. As close as we are to the situation, we have some insight into the situation. 

What Is Legally Expected Of Liquor Retailers?

In many cases, the right way of handling a customer who has had too much to drink varies according to the circumstances. Many retailers have their own policies in place and have no problem enforcing the law. Legally speaking, according to the 2003 Liquor Act, retailers must abide by the following:

  • “It is an offence for a licensee to allow drunkenness or licentious conduct on the licensed premises.”
  • “It is an offence for a licensee to fail to refuse an intoxicated person admission to the licensed premises (or any part thereof).”
  • “It is an offence for a licensee to fail to remove such a person from the licenced premises.”
  • “It is a crime for a licensee to supply or sell liquor to an intoxicated person.” 

How To Cut Off A Drunk Customer

When faced with the need to cut off a customer who has over-indulged, it is important to do so tactfully to avoid agitating them or a situation that escalates beyond your control. Keep the following tips in mind: 

  • Attempt to have the customer settle their bill or tab before taking action.
  • Be calm but firm in refusing to serve another drink. Make it perfectly clear that you are not going to be serving them any more alcohol.
  • Avoid negotiating or bargaining with the customer – don’t offer one last drink in exchange for them leaving. Stick by your word and remain firm. 
  • Attempt to keep things drama-free and respectful. There is no need to embarrass the customer. Deal with them respectfully when explaining that they have had enough to drink and must leave your establishment and welcome them back another time. 
  • Ensure they are not driving themselves. Offer to call someone to pick them up or call them an Uber. Under no circumstances should a drunk patron be allowed to leave and operate a vehicle. 

Are you looking for help to renew your liquor licence? Need a liquor licence consultant to help you obtain your restaurant liquor licence in South Africa?

Be a responsible liquor retailer by keeping your liquor licence up to date and valid. Leon Slotow Associates can assist with all of your liquor licence renewal and application needs. Contact us today to learn more.

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